The Iowa State Cyclones barely snuck into the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl, going 6-6 against a brutal schedule. But what a 6-6 it was, highlighted by a 37-31 OT win in November to effectively knock the Oklahoma State Cowboys out of the BCS National Championship Game. Their only win by more than a touchdown came on Oct. 29 against a ranked Texas Tech squad. Their other five wins came by a combined 17 points.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights rolled to a 'meh' 8-4 facing a 'meh' collection of teams known as the Big East. They faced just one ranked team this season and lost, falling 41-31 to the West Virginia Mountaineers. Offensively, the Scarlet Knights can't hang their hat on much. The combined power of Gary Nova and Chas Dodd threw 16 interceptions to 20 touchdowns this season, and the running game fell well short of the prowess of the Ray Rice era. Defensively Rutgers fared much better, giving up 18.8 points per game throughout the regular season.
The Cyclones rank just 86th and 83rd in FBS division football in average points scored and points allowed, respectively, this season. They are buoyed by the fact that five of their losses came against ranked opponents. Still, Iowa State would prefer actual victories to moral ones, and to win Friday they will need better consistency on both sides of the ball. Lucky for them, Rutgers isn't the team of world-beaters that the Cyclones are used to seeing.
Game date, time: 3:20 p.m. ET, Friday, October 30
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
TV channel: ESPN/ESPN3
Odds: Rutgers favored by 1.5 points
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